i’m back from gatlinburger (what one of the other adults who went called it–completely by accident–as we sat up till after 1am talking about the trip…obviously we know what he was thinking about!), and i have to say that it was a perfect little trip, a perfect wake-up call.

perfect not because the water in the chalet where we stayed smelled like eggs and made you gag everytime you took shower (and made me glad for bringing my pretty-smelling shampoo) nor for the fact that of course anytime you get 40+ teens together, you’re going to get your fair share of what comes with that age: drama, mishaps and kids trying to show off for one another. but that’s all beside the point because they pale in comparison to everything else that happened while we were down at TCTC.

i think being steeped in that environment–where everyone is united for a single purpose that lasts a whole weekend, rather than just a given hour on Sunday morning when you’re still shaking off sleep–can do nothing but awaken emotions. so we were able to watch kids scratch their heads and realize their ability to change the way of their life, and watch them open up and reach out about their struggles and the burdens holding them down, and watch them sprout roots and grow over the course of the weekend. my favorite part was being able to be there for them during that and to encourage them as they explored those things or to guide them through that–to feel used in that way. i think over the past couple of months i’ve felt God in my life more than i ever have, and that’s a pretty cool realization.

and in that way, i know i got as much out of it as any of the teens it was intended for. the main speaker, jayson french, was really inspiring and while there were all kinds of bullet points that could be pulled from what he said over the course of the two days, one of the ones that stuck out most to me was the warning, “what you tolerate you will come to accept,” as he was talking about Lot and his choice to move near and eventually into the thick of Sodom. very true.

so it’s hard to not be riding on a wave after all that. but even here at work (which i’ve always loved and has often served as my saving grace when things have seemed somber), the ol’ j-o-b has been doling out its own fair share of encouraging gems: i got word i got a bonus for all my work on the website (truth be told, it was only about $50 after-taxes, but still!) and then i’m taking the reins on our e-newsletter, which i’m excited about. i came up with a proposal about how to overhaul it and my boss was excited about every suggestion i made–nothing negative at all! so it’s nice to have my own little pet project to see through and feel like i’m making leaps and bounds there.

in other how-did-you-get-yourself-into-that news, i’m going to be playing indoor soccer with kitty and ordered some navy blue cleats and pink shinguards online (and another new book!). i’m hoping this doesn’t turn into a repeat of the ever unforgettable Kickball Debacle which left me feeling utterly insignificant and totally lame (i never even made it to second base and almost got my  head chopped off by the overly aggressive opposing team, “Dodgeball”-style).

all is going so well, in fact, that right now i’m listening to Angels & Airwaves, which might not mean anything to anyone, save for the fact that it was paul’s favorite band, and he told me that there was one song that always made him think of me, hence the reason why i had to tuck those cds out of sight because they made me sad, remembering. i even contemplated throwing the CDs away and erasing the tracks from my iTunes libraries. but now i can listen to and appreciate it for what it is–a good band that someone once recommended to me. and even though tomorrow might be completely different and i might retreat back to where i was last week being down-and-out about everything, right now i’m glad that i’m shaking off that old, drowning coat and starting to settle back down into that peaceful, stable spot where i once spent a lot of time…